"Hi, How Are You?": Organizations pledge to promote mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and two organizations have teamed up to launch a pledge to encourage support and bring awareness to mental health issues and well-being.

The mental health-focused nonprofit, inspired by the life and legacy of Daniel Johnston, the Hi, How Are You Project, and university student housing leader American Campus Communities, is asking people to take a simple pledge, "Because mental health matters, I pledge to ask others Hi How Are You?”

RELATED: Austin teacher honors Daniel Johnston with chainsaw art

If you'd like to take the pledge you can go to https://hihowareyou.org/pledge. You're encouraged to upload your own video of yourself taking the pledge and post and share.


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Once you've taken the pledge you have the option of donating and you'll receive a limited-edition bandana as well as other options featuring Johnston's art.


The first 100,000 pledges will unlock a $10,000 grant from American Campus Communities Foundation for the Hi, How Are You Project.

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Sharon Van Etten, Britt Daniel of Spoon, Ryan Bingham, and other artists and community leaders have already taken the pledge.

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The goal is to help shed light on the reality that one in five Americans experience a mental health illness with 75% of mental illnesses beginning by age 24.

“Now more than ever, we want to be a catalyst to amplify the importance of being able to openly communicate about mental health and well-being,” says Tom Gimbel, co-founder of the Hi, How Are You Project, in a news release.

RELATED: Hi, How Are You Day

Starting May 1, Hi, How Are You Project is releasing a series of Happy Habits to let people know how they can work on their own mental health and balance.

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The pledge is the latest thing that Hi, How Are You Project is doing in the hopes of removing the stigma and shame around mental health so people will feel open to communicating.

The nonprofit marks Hi, How Are You Day every year on January 22 as well. The day is inspired by Johnston, the late world-renowned musician and visual artist, who struggled with his own mental health issues. The day encourages people to check on neighbors, friends, co-workers, and loved ones.

RELATED: Hi, How Are You Day returns to Austin on January 22

For more information about the pledge or to get mental health resources you can go to Hi, How Are You Project's website. You'll also be able to find family activities for Mental Health Awareness Month like printing and coloring "Jeremiah the Innocent" window decals.

“Social distancing doesn’t mean social or self-isolation,” says Dr. Sonia Krishna, a board-certified physician specializing in Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry and Hi, How Are You Project board member. “Virtually reaching out to friends and loved ones is the best way to ensure that we bring light to mental health and support one another from wherever we are.”